More PPI and Famotidine Info for GERD

This is a repost of the update I just did on my PPI post from last year.

While I am glad I’ve rid myself of PPI use, I can’t say that it’s been without its issues. I have bouts of GERD every single day, while awake and while asleep. I typically get a flare after eating (doesn’t matter what it is) and occasionally with alcohol.

I have been using Pepcid, an H2 blocker with antacid (10mg famotidine + 750mg calcium carbonate) when GERD was really bad or it was flaring before bed – and it works GREAT! I was having some issues with the H2, but they planed out. I do have some constipation issues, but nothing that a senna caplet can’t handle.

I looked up famotidine and it has the best track record for long term use. There are no long term health issues from using is, as there are with PPIs. I discovered that PPIs have been DIRECTLY LINKED to liver damage with long term use. That is in addition to the potential kidney issues. Here is the NIH article on liver damage. Yeah, HARD PASS on the PPIs.

I do use Tums (calcium carbonate) A LOT to manage the breakthrough GERD that I get during the day and sometimes at night. I was looking up the details of calcium carbonate, such as safe amounts to take daily and found that it’s generally 2-3 grams per day for old people like me. Each chew is 750mg, so that’s 3-4 per day. Sometimes I am within that, sometimes not. The long term overdosing on calcium carbonate can cause kidney stones, but that’s about it. Constipation is a common side effect, which I manage with senna.

BUT overall, I feel that famotidine and calcium carbonate are my long term solution to VSG induced GERD. I use calcium carbonate (Tums chews) during the day if I need it and I take one Pepcid (famotidine + calcium carbonate) before bed. I’ve been on this regimen for about a year and it is OK. Not as good as PPIs, but I just can’t justify the potential organ damage that is caused by stopping stomach acid production. I think there is going to be a huge wave of people with organ failures from taking PPIs for years. I don’t want to be one of them.

So, if you use PPIs regularly, I implore you to rethink that strategy. Remember, ANY drug that ends in -zole is a PPI. Drugs that end in -dine are H2 blockers. That is an easy way to tell what your Dr put you on.

You have to understand that Drs are all about treating symptoms. They rarely look at the long term effects of anything they prescribe. If your Dr has you on PPIs long term, ask him or her if they are aware of the various NIH papers and studies on the long term effects. I’d be shocked if they have read ANYTHING about it. If YOU want to educate yourself, then I suggest you read my posts about PPIs. I’ve linked to various studies and papers that have been done about the potentially deadly health issues caused by long term PPI use. HERE is a fairly inclusive post with lots of referral links. If you want it all, go to the search box (front page) and search GERD, which will give you ALL the posts I’ve made regarding GERD.

The Help Me Nots

There are some people in the world that you just can’t help. Some are too fucked up. Some are too self involved. Some are too arrogant and know it all. Some are just beyond your paygrade for whatever reason.

Wisdom is knowing when to disengage without blowing up.

There are a few people that I am friends with that I just can’t be involved with in anything more than a social way. And that’s fine. Social friends have their place! But it’s difficult to navigate interactions with them. I naturally want to help with problems, and this group is just not down with that for various reasons. SO I have to withdraw. Leave them to their own devices. And I’ve got to do this without holding grudges, which I am prone to do.

TRICKSY.

This is part of the reason that I am pretty much an island amongst people. I just don’t trust anyone and I come across as controlling when I just want to help. Me helping is offering information and solutions. Most people don’t appreciate that and don’t want it, I’ve found.

So I have learned to just back away from whatever conversation is being had where I am suddenly faced with pedantic replies by people who don’t even know SHIT about what is being discussed. I simply will NOT argue semantics over some small thing when I only chimed in to help. NOPE. I’ll delete my part of the convo and move on. Facebook is on my shit list now anyway. I really am SICK TO DEATH of the pedantic bullshit slung over there. There are a couple of people who are the definition of pedantic and I must endeavor to avoid them. They really piss me off.

While my reaction is justified, there is one person in particular who LIVES to argue pedantically about every little thing, meanwhile not really knowing anything about the subject. VERY ANNOYING. I like this person in general, socially, but MAN, I cannot deal with them beyond that. So, I deleted my part of the two threads and I am trying not to hold a grudge about it. I’d like to say I won’t. But I probably will. Sorry, you treat me with disdain and pedantic arguments often enough and I certainly will not forget it. Meh.

Anyway, there’s my Friday thought for the day. Now, to move on and have a great day! No more FB! :)

More Observations on Money

Or perhaps I should say on poor people and how they handle money. Or not even necessarily “poor” in the sense of underemployed, but poor in the sense of never having assets or a savings account no matter how much money they make.

I know many, many people in this category. It’s safe to say that 90% of the people we know are in this category, sadly.

Despite our current situation of me having almost no work and Nick being VERY underpaid, we are still doing well in our savings and investments. Granted, the unemployment I’m getting has been a BIG BIG help, but we’ve put that money to use in our investments and upgrading some things that needed upgrade in our house. We’re also going to take a big vacay (well, 5 days, which is big for us) and we’re buying some stuff for the games gig, too.

But even before the pandemic, we managed pretty well with the little scratch we had.

We talk about this often. We take risks with money – usually BIG ONES – but we also make sure that what we have works for us. We are also tighter than two coats of paint when it comes to big purchases. We plan ahead and we SHOP for deals. We also buy ahead if we find excellent deals on things we know we’ll need eventually. My chest freezer is full of protein that I get on sale, for instance. I rarely pay full price for proteins! That chest freezer ($175) has paid for itself a dozen times over in what I’ve saved!

We see our friends constantly broke and struggling, yet they pay full price for most things – INCLUDING big ticket items, where savings are significant if you’ll just SHOP. Appliances, cars and houses are the biggest expenses for most people. With planning, most of these expenses can be shopped for to get the best deal. Of course there’s always shit that breaks, but that goes to having SAVINGS for shit that happens.

Let’s take appliances first. If you know you’ll need a new big ticket appliance, then get on the phone and call around. There are myriad off price places to get deals! Look around your area and you’ll find tons of little off price stores. Of course there’s American Freight (prev. Sears Outlet) and BrandSmart, but look for scratch and dent and don’t rule out USED! We got our Bosch (the BEST) dishwasher used, probably about 10 years ago at this point. It was $300 (retail is around $800) and the only thing we’ve done was replace the control panel ($95) a few years ago. Our washer and dryer was purchased new at the Sears outlet in 04, $800 for the pair. The washer died after about 10 years (about right for front loader) and we replaced it with another similar model for $495 in 2014. How do I know? I kept the receipt. Another thing people do NOT do that drives me crazy.

Now let’s look at cars. Automobiles are probably the biggest item that Americans waste money on. I see this EVERY DAY. Americans will buy new cars rather than used and they’ll pay whatever the sticker says. LOL!! This is the dumbest thing in the world. But Americans’ lack of will to do the work and get a deal has resulted in CarMax and the other places that slap a price on a car, and that is what you pay. It’s billed as a positive thing: “No dickering! No high pressure sales!” They are basically saying “Trust US! We’ll give you the best deal!!” LOL again. They absolutely DO NOT give you the best deal. They give you RETAIL prices for used cars. And Americans lap it up. Sigh. It never ceases to amaze me how much people will pay for a car and how much they DO NOT pay attention to the financing or overall cost. If you get a new car and finance it for six years, you’ll pay about as much in interest as you will for the car that you’ve already paid too much for. It’s simple math. But MATH??!! OMG, NO! We don’t want to do MATH!! I see poor people buying new cars all the time. They pay full price, get a high interest loan for six years and lose about 20% of the value of the vehicle when they drive off the lot. How is this smart? It is not. But it’s QUICK!! So people sign on the dotted line and never think twice about the actual costs. This is why people stay poor.

Houses are another boondoggle that people feel the need to do. First of all, buying a house is NOT the panacea that it’s made out to be. Yep, your credit will go up, but you’ll also be house poor with all the constant repairs you’ll be making. We see this all the time. The “American Dream” of home ownership is overblown and a LIE. I see people who have umpteen roommates to pay the mortgage and are STILL broke. Why? Because they don’t manage their money, they have no savings and they waste 25% of their income on stupid shit like interest and buying shit at full price.

Overall, it’s the lack of patience that poor people have to take the time to find bargains and save money. In my observations, poor people tend to be impatient with the ways of money and they tend to NOT want to deal with it, which means they are not interested in calculating interest or finding deals or using a coupon. I think this comes from the constant stress of living paycheck to paycheck. I mean, I totally understand that most people do live paycheck to paycheck. But I also think that being unable or unwilling to choose wisely when it comes to spending is a big part of it.

For instance, we choose to forgo expensive health insurance, because we’d rather have a fat savings account. We’ve proven that when shit happens (see Nick’s hand incident from 2019), you WILL BE FINE without insurance. We paid nothing. We also buy used vehicles ONLY. We shop and we find deals. The Ranger was a fair deal from a wholesaler and Romeo was a good deal from a dealership lot. But these deals did not fall in my lap, I SHOPPED. I called every car lot in town looking for Romeo! I scoured the internet! I worked for it. And I got a racehorse deal on the exact car I wanted. It took me about a month. NOW, granted, we could get by with one vehicle and a friend lent me his spare vehicle, and I understand most people can’t go without for that long. BUT. Even renting a car or using Uber every day would have been economical for the deal I got. I saved thousands! We financed because this was BEFORE the pub debacle, but my rate was 2.89%, I think. (We paid it off before the bankruptcy from the pub.) What I did not do was panic and run to CarMax and pay whatever they wanted. DO. NOT. PANIC.

I also use coupons for groceries, wait for % off coupons at Vitacost, use Rakuten for cash back, buy protein on sale, buy in bulk when I find a deal and just keep my eyes peeled for bargains. We also never pay full price for technology. We buy all our Apple gear from eBay, unless a good deal is found elsewhere. Boost was offering the iPhone SE2 for $250, so we jumped on that with both feet. That is less than an open box on eBay! We pay a little too much for our cell plans ($35 each) but we’re not motivated to change for $5-10. But I was tempted by Xfinity’s mobile deal for a second. ;)

We monitor all expenses. We keep receipts. Basically, we run the house like a business and you know what? IT IS WORTH IT. Our efforts are why we can live WAY above our pay grade. Nick is underemployed as am I. Yet, we have a nice house, solid cars and fat savings and investments. We do this by being frugal and making good choices with our money. This is also how we rebounded from losing about $160k on the Pub. We’d made the money back before the pandemic. The bankruptcy fucked our credit, but our ACTUAL money situation is very good. Fuck Experian and the rest of them. They only see what they want to see. Which is a whole ‘nother rant, for another day.

Lack of patience and panic are the two characteristics I see most commonly from poor people. What they don’t get is that their lack of patience and planning is WHY they get panicked when shit happens. It’s a vicious circle.

You got two choices in this life: control it or be controlled. We control it – for the most part. When we roll the dice, we KNOW we are rolling the dice. Even when we get snake eyes, like the pub, we can recover because we are mentally tough and we know that it’s only money. Money can be made again and controlled. Poor people tend to be controlled by money. They don’t budget, they look at the bank account and spend accordingly. Which is why they run out of money regularly. Lack of planning and lack of WILL to control their situation. We don’t have a physical budget, because we’ve run our lives like a business for so long, we can manage intuitively. But we are the exception. MOST PEOPLE NEED A BUDGET. A physical one, with numbers and shit. I really wish I could help my friends with this, but they are not interested in the work it takes. It saddens me to see them struggle, but it’s not like I don’t TRY to help. I do. I offer to make budgets and help them shop for big ticket items. But for the most part, my efforts fall upon deaf ears and they continue to be controlled rather than be IN control. They panic and pay whatever is asked. They overpay for things and every dollar overpaid is a dollar NOT in savings.

To each his own, I guess. It just bothers me that SO MANY people could be in better shape if they’d slow down and do the work. Sigh. It’s endemic of our times. People have zero patience and want everything quick without effort. It is usually worth the effort. Trust me, we are living proof that our methods work. I wish much luck to all our struggling friends. Change your mind, change your life. It’s not just a slogan. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk! :)

Shootings in America

As the pandemic drones on, it appears the stress has really driven the crazies out. We’ve had another cluster of random violent shootings recently. We had three in a week last week. But, yeah, NRA, people buying automatic weapons at the corner store is SO not the problem. Sigh. Fuck the NRA.

We’ve also had another fatal police shooting, yesterday (4/20/21). A teenager was shot several times by a cop in broad daylight. The cop was responding to a call about some people fighting. So naturally, people fighting being a DEADLY menace, the cop came ready to shoot someone.

Look, the bottom line is that cops should NOT use deadly force FIRST! They should use a taser FIRST to see if the situation can be de-escalated. But cops aren’t interested in HELPING, they are interested in KILLING.

When every situation is considered deadly, then deadly force seems appropriate. This is military training, NOT service training. Police are to SERVE AND PROTECT, not subdue unruly “civilians” and dispense justice.

A 16 year old girl was shot and killed for fighting with her foster care “siblings”. Yes, she was wielding a knife, BUT a taser would’ve subdued her just fine. There was zero reason for the cop to fire his weapon and kill her on the spot. Of course, since she was the aggressor, she’ll be painted as “deserving” being killed and the cop will get no punishment for this horrible crime.

The longterm militarization of the police has put us in this position of not being able to trust them. They treat everyone as the enemy. I think they cannot be trusted to have firearms any longer. Shoot first is their mantra, and that is not appropriate for 99% of the things they are supposed to be doing.

You can thank the NRA for keeping hillbillies stirred up about the government taking their guns away and you can thank Nixon for starting the militarization of the police in the 70s that has led us to this point.

Defund the police. Take away their SWAT tanks, automatic weapons and even their sidearms. Give them nightsticks and tasers. They are there FOR US CITIZENS, not to be military intervention. We have the military for that. Defund and dismantle the NRA. Take away their lobbyists and shut them down. Lock down automatic gun sales. No one needs that shit. NO ONE. Get guns off the streets.

We CAN get control of this mess. We just need to get rid of the politicians who still advocate guns and military style police. I know: easier said than done. But we can TRY. Vote the bastards OUT. Don’t let the hillbillies win!

Facebook Censorship

I’ve been the victim of FB censorship twice in the last week. The first time was for saying something like “Americans are selfish fucks who won’t wear masks”, which is a TRUE statement from any angle. FB removed the comment when they jailed me, so no screen shot. The second time, I did it on purpose to see if the key words would trigger another ban, so I wrote “muricans selfish f * c k s masks” on a post about FB censorship by a friend, then wrote “waiting for FB jail”, which happened two minutes after the comment.

Not only do they monitor what is said – ESPECIALLY if you’re on The List (which they DO have), but if you get popped several times, they will actively start rooting through your entries (public OR NOT) to find reasons to jail you. I’ve got a friend who has been been banned TWICE for NON-public posts from years ago. This does not sit right with me.

FB needs to spend more time rooting out the Nazi, Q and other hate groups and less time worrying about comments that are OBVIOUS about mask usage or whatever. Speaking the truth about the handling of the plague in the US is NOT the same as hate speech that still runs rampant on this platform.

Appealing anything that FB does is also a shit show. You have to go to an outside site (run by FB no doubt) and provide a COPY OF YOUR ID to initiate an appeal. WAT? NO. This is also linked to FB demanding that you use your “legal” name, which is none of their fucking business. I have another friend who was forced to produce her legal ID and use her full legal name to keep her FB account when she added a funny name as a joke. This is WAY beyond the scope of a social media platform’s purview in my opinion.

FB is just a goddam rumour and meme mill. FB takes itself WAY too seriously and it is allowed to run all over free speech because of its size. They are quick to jail everyday users for what their algorithms feel is “hate speech” but allow hate groups to say whatever the FUCK they want without censure. This platform really needs to be broken up and dispersed. It has too much power, too much personal info on its users and is far too duplicitous about all of it. AND LOOK WHAT JUST POPPED UP! A hacker scraped hundreds of millions of phone numbers and personal data from the FB servers in 2019 and we’re just now hearing about it. YEAH, FB, I want to trust YOU with MY personal info. FUCKERS. #fuckFB is my favourite tag.

FB is not the answer. We seriously need to move to Ello or back to LJ or ANYWHERE but here. This company has too much power and too much latitude to do whatever the hell it wants. I am moving all my content back here and off of FB. I’ll still share shit and make silly daily life posts over there – that’s what it’s for! But anything that matters will be HERE. I’m also not crossposting anything to FB from here any longer. This content is not appropriate for my IndigoDragon page, and FB does not allow crossposting to personal pages, so fuck it. No more. You’ll have to leave the confines of FB to read my content. I’ll make a link post on FB, but that’s it.

Facebook is a terrible, insidious platform. We all need to consciously start reading blogs and other content BESIDES FB. Thanks for coming out of FB to read this!